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Author Notes:

Corresponding Author: Email: jmelkers@gatech.edu

See publication for full list of author contributions.

See publication for full statement on data availability.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Research Funding:

Funded by Atlanta BEST, National Institutes of Health.

The "new normal": Adapting doctoral trainee career preparation for broad career paths in science.


Journal Title:



Volume 12, Number 5


, Pages e0177035-e0177035

Type of Work:

Article | Final Publisher PDF


Doctoral recipients in the biomedical sciences and STEM fields are showing increased interest in career opportunities beyond academic positions. While recent research has addressed the interests and preferences of doctoral trainees for non-academic careers, the strategies and resources that trainees use to prepare for a broad job market (non-academic) are poorly understood. The recent adaptation of the Social Cognitive Career Theory to explicitly highlight the interplay of contextual support mechanisms, individual career search efficacy, and self-adaptation of job search processes underscores the value of attention to this explicit career phase. Our research addresses the factors that affect the career search confidence and job search strategies of doctoral trainees with non-academic career interests and is based on nearly 900 respondents from an NIH-funded survey of doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in the biomedical sciences at two U.S. universities. Using structural equation modeling, we find that trainees pursuing non-academic careers, and/or with low perceived program support for career goals, have lower career development and search process efficacy (CDSE), and receive different levels of support from their advisors/supervisors. We also find evidence of trainee adaptation driven by their career search efficacy, and not by career interests.

Copyright information:

© 2017 St. Clair et al

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
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